As the saying goes, some things in life are “for the birds” —worthless, pointless, or inconsequential. Many of these things are important to me, so let's talk about them.
When we signed up for this, I had the sense that we were saying good bye to the life we've known. It's been just Chris and me for almost 5 years. We managed to add two fur babies into the mix, and they've seamlessly become part of our routine and comfort. But now, now we are at the mercy of an agency that decides who we gave the power to decide a lot of things for our lives for the foreseeable future.
Do I buck against the restraints and unmet expectations? Or do I throw my hands in the air and go along for the ride?
I'm learning to go with the flow. It's hard. I like to know what the next hour, the next day, the next week holds. But this is where we're being lead. This is the life we know has been waiting for us. It's been a wild ride and there's no end in sight.
While this was not a comprehensive overview of DCFS vs. Private agencies, I do hope our personal experience is beneficial in your decision on how to do foster care. I can only speak from what I know and, at this point, it isn't much. But I felt like our experience was one that should be shared.
This has not been an easy road. We are a year out from our decision to pursue foster care. The road has been physically and emotionally painful. It's been bumpy with lots of roadblocks and speed bumps. It's already been ravaged by heartbreak and dashed hopes. But it's also been a journey of healing, hope, beauty and love. And that is what makes this journey worth it.
These four steps are seemingly easy. But they require sacrifice on your end, sacrifice of time, money and your comfort zone. They require you to dive into a messy situation and to get involved in coming alongside a family fighting for normal. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to get your hands dirty and your heart bruised for the sake of hurting families and children?
I hope you say yes. We need you now more than ever.
Giving gifts to your child care worker can often be a bit awkward. What do you give your nanny? How much do you give? Is it even appropriate to give them a gift? What if I can't afford to give them what is deemed appropriate?
Let me put you at ease.
Yes. It is more than appropriate to give your child care worker a gift. In fact, it is expected, no matter the capacity.
I told God this morning that I know He's writing a great big story for our lives. I told Him that I get that and sometimes it's exciting, but also that I wish mine was more of a short story rather than an epic.
Nowadays, we are paying for our own groceries, but our budget is still pretty limited. I try to spend less than $100/week. Honestly, I find great joy in buying a whole week's worth of groceries including fresh produce and special treats for $100. So while our meals are rarely steaks or salmon, they are still wholesome and healthy and filling.
Christmas is just around the corner. It is such a joyful time of year, but it can also bring significant stress because money is always tight.
We are a one-income household. This is a recent development, but even when I was working, my income wasn't significant enough to make much of a difference. So when Christmas rolls around, there's always a few weeks of stress as we try to figure out where money for gifts is coming from.
There are a few things I do to make this time of year a bit easier on our budget and I hope you will find my quirky habits to be useful for your own budgets.
What I've learned through this process is that there is NOTHING I can do in fretting. It only gives me a tummy ache and exhausts me to no end. So I've spent the last few days trying to find purpose in my waiting. I have felt the need to not waste this time, but instead use it to ready myself for what's to come.
So, as you prepare for your home study, keep these 5 tips in mind. The more nervous you are, the less likely you will be yourself, which I think is the most important thing for the home study.
And above all else, remember, your agency worker is for you, not against you. You've got this!
This road has not been smooth sailing. And it will NEVER be smooth sailing. Kids in care are hurt. They are traumatized. They are delayed and in need of many services. There is and will be a lot of anger and sadness to work through. There will be failures on our end as parents to provide the right amount of understanding and correction.
But this is what we are supposed to do. This is what we were meant to do all along.
And as scary as this road is, how uncertain the future looks, knowing that we are in the midst of God's plan is so comforting. So worth it.
I am so thankful foster care chose us. We haven't even begun and it has taught us so much about ourselves and each other.